(See the QuickSync H.264 Encoding Performance and Quality Test article for a speed and quality analysis and comparison to x264, and the new Haswell Lookahead Addendum for new information about the new Lookahead rate control method.)
The latest version is 0.5.0. See the Download section below to download the installer. Please send feedback and questions to ryan@TetrachromeSoftware.com
Here are the 0.5.0 release notes:
Changes in 0.5.0: ------------------- - Upgrade to Media SDK in INDE 2015 Update 2.1 (API version 1.16). - Upgrade to Visual Studio 2015 runtime. - Stop including Media SDK software dll (libmfxsw32.dll) due to apparent bug in loader. - Upgrade libav* libraries. This may be a breaking change as the new versions are only compatible with AviSynth 2.6.0 or newer. - Improve error message for .avs load failure.
q264.exe displays the release notes in response to the -rel argument. You can see the full release notes here.
Note that your use of the H.264 encoding algorithm may be subject to licensing concerns. See the MPEG-LA site for more information.
Neither Tetrachrome Software LLC nor this project are affiliated with Intel® Corporation.
The following are primary features of q264:
- Very fast H.264 encoding using Intel® Quick Sync hardware.
- Relatively low CPU load during encoding.
- Reads .avi, .avs (avisynth.org), raw NV12 and YV12 files, .m2v, .mkv, .mp4, .m2ts, and many more formats.
- Supports the following input color formats: RGB24 (RGB3), RGB32 (RGB4), NV12, YV12, I420, YUY2, and YUV422P.
- Lets you control the low level Quick Sync parameters for flexible encoding.
This uses the FFmpeg libraries (libavformat, libavcodec, etc) under the LGPLv2.1 to read non-raw input files. FFmpeg supports a very large number of input file formats, and relatively few have been tested in q264, so they may or may not work. See ffmpeg.org for more information about the FFmpeg project.
q264 is a command line program built with the Intel® Media SDK to use the special Quick Sync hardware built into newer Intel® CPUs. Only 2nd and later generation Intel® Core architecture microprocessors (Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, and Haswell) have this capability. See the Wikipedia article and the Intel® web site for more information.
This has only been tested on Windows 7 and 8 64-bit so far, but has some chance of working on Vista as well. Please let me know if it does or doesn't work on other versions of Windows.
If you are looking for a command-line encoder that does not require Intel® Quick Sync hardware, then you may want to take a look at x264.
Here is part of the usage that q264.exe displays:
Usage: q264.exe [options] -i inputFile -o outputFile q264 Version 0.5.0 Built: Dec 11 2015 21:02:06 Path: C:\Program Files (x86)\q264\q264.exe Copyright (C) 2012-2015 Tetrachrome Software LLC libav* versions: libavcodec: 57.15.100, libavformat: 57.18.100, libavutil: 55.8.100, libavfilter: 6.15.100 This is an H.264 video encoder that uses Intel Quick Sync Video hardware available on recent Intel CPUs (Sandy Bridge and newer). The tested input file types are .avi, .avs, raw (NV12, YV12, or I420/YUV420P/IYUV), .m2v, .mkv, .m2ts, and .mp4 but more probably work due to libav* libraries. The output file is generally a raw H.264 file, but can also be an mp4 file (see muxing below) ...
There is much more, you can see the full help here.
This will contain frequently asked questions and their answers.
1) When running from Windows PowerShell, q264.exe fails silently. What is going on?
q264.exe requires several DLLs that are installed with it. If the required DLL's are not in the path, the command fails silently when run from PowerShell. Try running from cmd.exe, because in that case when it can't find a DLL it pops a dialog with the DLL name so you can see what's going on. The installer modifies the path to include the directory in which q264.exe is installed, and that is where the required DLL's should be.
2) How does this compare to x264?
x264 is awesome. But due to Quick Sync hardware q264 is faster and on the newest generation Intel CPUs (Haswell) it approaches x264's quality.
See the EULA that is included in the installer for the official disclaimer of warranty.
|0.5.0||December 12, 2015||q264-setup-0.5.0.exe||
|0.4.4||April 29, 2015||q264-setup-0.4.4.exe||
|0.4.3||April 20, 2015||q264-setup-0.4.3.exe||
|0.4.2||March 5, 2015||q264-setup-0.4.2.exe||
|0.4.1||March 3, 2015||q264-setup-0.4.1.exe||
|0.4.0||February 4, 2015||q264-setup-0.4.0.exe||
|0.3.9 (beta)||Sept 22, 2014||q264-setup-0.3.9.exe||
|0.3.8 (beta)||April 14, 2014||q264-setup-0.3.8.exe||
|0.3.7 (beta)||January 28, 2014||q264-setup-0.3.7.exe||
|0.3.6 (beta)||January 24, 2014||q264-setup-0.3.6.exe||
|0.3.5 (beta)||January 1, 2014||q264-setup-0.3.5.exe||
|0.3.4 (beta)||October 27, 2013||q264-setup-0.3.4.exe||
|0.3.3 (beta)||September 20, 2013||q264-setup-0.3.3.exe||
|0.3.2 (beta)||August 25, 2013||q264-setup-0.3.2.exe||
|0.3.1 (beta)||August 23, 2013||q264-setup-0.3.1.exe||
|0.3.0 (beta)||August 5, 2013||q264-setup-0.3.0.exe||
Currently Windows 8 SmartScreen blocks the q264 installation due to the fact that not many people have installed q264 yet. Windows 8 shows a SmartScreen dialog that indicates that the installation has been blocked, and unfortunately by default it does not show you the option to proceed with the installation. You have to select the details button to see the option to allow the installation to continue. There is no malware in this installer and you can check it with various web-based virus scanners like the one linked below.
As a new program, there is the possibility that virus detection strategies (in addition to SmartScreen) that rely on a history of successful uses may be triggered, despite there being no malware in q264. There are free services such as VirSCAN.org that you can use to scan files for malware.